The butterfly effect: Native milkweed can save monarchs – if you know how to grow it

The butterfly effect: Native milkweed can save monarchs – if you know how to grow it

Barbara Keller-Willy remembers her reaction when fellow Texas gardeners told her that native milkweed, a plant essential for the survival of the monarch butterfly, was nearly impossible to grow: How hard could it be? It was 2009, and Keller-Willy had just quit her job as an engineering executive. She was spending her time volunteering for local nature and prairie restoration projects. Keller-Willy had been a corporate problem-solver for most of her professional career. Learning that milkweed was resistant to even…

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Wimberley residents want to buy Mount Edith to protect it from developers

Wimberley residents want to buy Mount Edith to protect it from developers

Hill Country residents are worried developers will scar the area’s scenic hill tops, and one town has decided to do something about it. Mostly pickups, SUVS and bikers drive down the scenic main drag of the little town of Wimberley, about an hour’s drive from San Antonio. Councilwoman Christine Byrne said the city has a cool vibe. “Wimberley is kind of a small, rural community right outside of Austin,” she said. “Very artsy. We love our natural spaces. We are…

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Creatures of the deep karst

Creatures of the deep karst

Groundwater—the water that is stored beneath the Earth’s surface in soil and rock—makes up more than 95 percent of the Earth’s liquid fresh water. The subsurface aquatic realm is also the world’s largest freshwater habitat. Although organisms that live only in subterranean aquifers make up a relatively small fraction of the total number of freshwater species, they are an important component of biodiversity. They are poorly understood, however, because they are to a large extent inaccessible and are difficult or…

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IN DEPTH: Hays County, Travis Audubon demand full, public environmental review in legal challenge to Permian Highway Pipeline

IN DEPTH: Hays County, Travis Audubon demand full, public environmental review in legal challenge to Permian Highway Pipeline

Local opponents of the Permian Highway pipeline have taken a second major legal action to try to push the company developing the project into conducting a full and public environmental review. Hays County, Travis Audubon Society and several private plaintiffs filed a notice of intent July 17 to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Kinder Morgan. The challenge follows months of discussion among elected officials and residents over the impact that the…

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Sink Creek Project Awarded U.S. Forest Service Grant

Sink Creek Project Awarded U.S. Forest Service Grant

The City of San Marcos will receive a $423,500 grant from the United States Forest Service to fund the land purchase of the Sink Creek Community Forest Tract. This is the first Community Forest and Open Space Program grant awarded to a project in Texas. The City purchased the 102-acre tract through a three-year lease with The Trust for Public Land in 2017 for a total purchase price of $1.27 million. City Council approved the lease-purchase agreement with the expectation…

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Why we are losing the night sky

Why we are losing the night sky

It never gets dark anymore. Not REALLY dark, anyway. Not like it used to. Light pollution is not only making it more difficult to see the night sky, but it’s also affecting our health. For the past century and a half, since the dawn of electric light, we’ve been losing our connection to the night. We need artificial light for modern society, of course. The problem is, we need darkness for our health, and for the health of wildlife and…

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Proposed pipeline would cut through Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat

Proposed pipeline would cut through Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat

Every March, birders spill into the canyonlands outside of Austin, Texas, to search for Golden-cheeked Warblers. The tiny black-and-white songbird, with vibrant yellow splashed across its face, is the state’s sole endemic bird, and a federally protected species with an estimated population of 27,000. In early spring the birds migrate up from Central America to nest in the Hill Country, a region of limestone hills, caves, clear creeks, and swimming holes in Central Texas. There they construct deep cup nests, weaving strands of ash-juniper…

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Letter to the Editor, Time to get past denial and start finding solutions

Letter to the Editor, Time to get past denial and start finding solutions

by Eva Silverfine Ott, Comal County Resident Letter to the Editor of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung June 27, 2019 I want to applaud Chris Lykins for his editorial, “The Climate Change Conspiracy” (Herald-Zeitung, 6-16-19). The effects of greenhouse gases (82% of which is carbon dioxide; U.S. EPA 2017) have long been known. As Mr. Lykins points out, how we address the problem is open for debate, but the fundamental science is not. Doubt has been sowed by an industry and…

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New Edwards Aquifer facility designed to protect endangered species

New Edwards Aquifer facility designed to protect endangered species

A new facility to research and protect some endangered species that are native to central Texas opened Thursday. The new Edwards Aquifer habitat conservation plan buildings will house a handful of endangered species that include the San Marcos salamander, the comal springs riffle beetle, the foundation darter, and eve Texas wild rice–a grass native to the San Marcos River. Read more from Matthew Prendergast with KXAN here

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Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Preserve now open to the public

Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Preserve now open to the public

The project the late Gay Ruby Dahlstrom worked for almost a decade over is now complete and open to the public as a nature preserve and conservation easement. Hays County, the Hill Country Conservancy and the Dahlstrom family announced the opening of the Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Preserve. The nature preserve is located in Buda on the Dahlstrom Ranch spanning 384 acres of undeveloped land. Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said the county fully supported the project and invested more than…

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